SALT LAKE CITY (Court TV) — In an interview with Court TV’s Vinnie Politan, the attorney representing the husband of a YouTube creator accused of child abuse revealed new details about the couple’s relationship and pending divorce.
Kevin Franke filed for divorce from his wife, Ruby Franke, in November and a domestic relations injunction. Ruby Franke is known as the star of the since-canceled YouTube channel “8 Passengers” and had millions following her tips on lifestyle and parenting. Ruby was arrested in August after her 12-year-old son escaped to a neighbor’s home and asked for food and water.
Kevin’s attorney, Randy Kester, told Court TV on Tuesday evening that the couple had been separated for more than a year and that Kevin had no knowledge of the conditions in which his children were living.
Kester told Court TV’s Vinnie Politan that Jodi Hildebrandt, whose house the 12-year-old had been inside when he escaped and who has been charged with abuse along with Ruby, had been serving as a marriage counselor for the couple and had pushed Kevin to move out of the house. Kester said that Kevin was forced into isolation in an apartment and was not allowed to communicate with or see his children.
“Kevin loved his family a great deal and loved his wife a great deal. He did not want to be separated from them,” Kester said. “He did not want to be apart from them, even to the point of not being able to speak to them. But he was persuaded by Jodi, who came as a trusted and upright professional to him.”
Hildebrandt allegedly told Kevin that isolating himself and limiting communication would make his family more “wholesome” and healthy. His communication was limited to the people he worked with and other men at meetings organized by Hildebrandt.
“(Kevin) was living by himself in a small apartment,” Kester told Politan. “Ruby and the children were all living in their quite large home in Springville. His communication with his children was zip. His communication with Ruby was only at her discretion.”
Politan pressed Kester about why Kevin would have been willing to leave his family in the first place.
“My first question was, ‘Where were you?'” Kester said of his first meeting with Kevin. “And he said, ‘Randy, I was so desperate to get back with my wife and my children, I was willing to take anyone’s advice who I thought was a professional and could help me reestablish my relationship and my bond with my kids and my family and my wife,’ and he said in hindsight, ‘I was brainwashed.'”